Framed! (Singh, 2006)


Singh, Hari: Framed!; HRD Press, 2006, ISBN: 0874258731

I stumbled upon this book somewhere in the tubes.  I do admit that I felt appealed to combine a fictional narrative with some scientific subtext.  Unfortunately for this book I put the bar to pass at Tom DeMarco’s Deadline.  On the one hand Singh delivers, what seems to be his own lecture on decision-making as the alter-ego of Professor Armstrong; on the other hand the fictional two-level story of Larry the first person story-teller and the crime mystery around Laura’s suicide turn murder does not really deliver.  Let alone the superficial references to Chicago, which I rather found off putting, I think a bit more of research and getting off the beaten track could have done much good here.  Lastly, I don’t fancy much the narrative framework driven style so commonly found in American self-help books – and so brilliantly mocked in Little Miss Sunshine.

Anyhow let’s focus on the content.  Singh calls his structure for better decision-making FACTNET

  • Framing/ conceptualising the issue creatively
  • Anchoring/ relying on reference points
  • Cause & effect
  • Tastes for risk preference & role of chance
  • Negotiation & importance of trust
  • Evaluating decisions by a process
  • Tracking relevant feedback

Frame – Identify the problem clearly, be candid about your ignorance, question presumptions, consider a wide set of alternatives
Anchoring – Anchor your evaluations with external reference points and avoid group thinking
Cause & effect – Recognise patterns and cause-effect-relationships, try to regress to the mean, be aware of biases such as the halo effect
Tastes for risk & Role of chance – be aware of compensation behaviour, satisficing behaviour, cognitive dissonance, signaling of risks, gambler’s fallacy, availability bias – all deceptions which negatively impact decision-making
Negotiation & Trust – just two words: Prisoner’s dilemma
Evaluating decisions by a process – Revisit decisions, conduct sensitivity analyses
Tracking relevant feedback – Continuously get feedback & feed-forward, be aware of overlooked feedback, treatment of effects, split up good news and bundle bad news, think about sunk costs, man & machine, and engage in self-examination

Three methods for decision-making are presented in the book – (1) balance sheet methods with applied weighting, (2) WARS = weighting attributes and scores, and (3) scenario strategies.

Lastly, Singh reminded me again of the old motto „Non Sequitur!“ – making me aware of all the logic fallacies that occur if something sounds reasonable but ‚does not really follow‘.

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